THE Limerick club hurling championship is to undergo a major facelift.
This Tuesday night Limerick GAA voted at a Special Convention in Claughaun to introduce radical new changes for 2014 with elements of the ‘Lifting the Treaty 2’ bluepint passed.
While the structure of the 2013 senior and intermediate hurling championships are unchanged, the final placings next October will be used to ‘grade’ clubs for the new structures of next season.
The changes to the senior and intermediate hurling championships were passed by 115 votes to 108.
However proposals to take the junior A hurling championship out of the four divisions was heavily defeated.
The changes mean that the 2014 Limerick SHC will comprise of just 12 teams - meaning four sides will be relegated this year. The 2014 SHC will comprise of two groups of sieams, giving at least five games to each club.
For 2013 the top two teams in each group of four will advance to the quarter-finals with the bottom two teams battling to avoid relegation.
The four teams relegated will form half of the new eight-team Premier Intermediate hurling championship for 2014. The remaining four teams for this new tier of championship will comprise of the four semi-finalists from the 2013 intermediate hurling championship. Therefore, there is in essence, no promotion for the winners of the 2013 Limerick IHC.
The 2014 Premier Intermediate championship will comprise of one group of eight teams, giving each team at least seven games. It is the winner of the Premier Intermediate championship that would represent Limerick in the Munster IHC. Limerick will be represented in the Munster junior championship by the junior winners.
The remainder of the 2013 Limerick IHC will remain in a 12-team IHC for 2014 - two groups of six teams, guaranteeing at least five games per club.
The final make-up of the 2014 Limerick IHC is to be finalised at next Tuesday’s February County Board meeting with the question of promotion from the 2013 junior A championship and relegation from the 2013 IHC to be confirmed.
From 2014 onwards there will be two teams promoted and relegated between the varying tiers of the championship.
The new structures are for a three-year period with a review at the end of each year.
See the weekend print edition for more detailed analysis and reaction to the changes.